Pick Three Always A Great Wager

PICK THREE ALWAYS A GREAT WAGER...Even Better Without A Front End Favorite

Jim Hurley

If you've read my articles over the years, then you know what a big advocate I am for PICK THREE WAGERS. The title of this go-around couldn't be clearer. Pick Three Always A Great Wager. But what about the subtitle: Even Better Without A Front End Favorite? Do I mean that a Pick Three is a better wager when it doesn't involve a favorite that is running on the front?

No, I was trying for a catchy way of getting you to read the article.

What I mean when I say that the already terrific PICK THREE is an even better wager when a winning favorite is in the second or third leg of the PICK THREE SEQUENCE as opposed to being in the first leg of that same sequence. And you won't even have to take my word for it...I'm going to show you.
First, however, just in case you haven't prior to this, read my sermons regarding the VALUE OF THE PICK THREE, let me present one of the many reasons why: inflated payoffs.

There is simple and irrefutable evidence for this in well over 90% of Pick Three Returns. All you have to do is measure what a three race winning parlay WOULD PAY vs what a three race Pick Three DOES PAY. So let's go to the Gulfstream Charts of Sunday, January 15 to make the case.

Races 1-3
Race 1 - Flattering Irene - $6.00
Race 2 - Rule Number Six - $31.00
Race 3 - Sinorice - $15.00
3 Horse Parlay Would Pay $697.50

That "slightly higher" return for the PICK THREE as opposed to the Parlay is less than the increase in value usually provided. But I chose this sequence because it leads me to the other understanding I want you to take from this lesson...that of FINDING EXTRAORDINARY VALUE when a utilized favorite in your Pick Three Sequence DOES NOT PRESENT IN THE FIRST LEG of that sequence. Let's now go to races 2-4 at Gulfstream Park on the same Sunday.

Races 2-4
Race 2 - Rule Number Six - $31.00
Race 3 - Sinorice - $15.00
Race 4 - Game Ball - $4.60
3 Horse Parlay Would Pay $534.75

I used these as examples for another reason...and this addresses my original point; that the wager is EVEN BETTER WITHOUT THE FRONT END FAVORITE.

Keep in mind that the second and third races are common to a Both Sample Three Horse Parlays. So you see that the three horse parlay sequence of Races 1-3 with the 2-1 shot in the first leg pays more than the parlay sequence of Races 2-4 with the 1.3-1 shot in the third leg.

However, the Races 2-4 Pick Three Sequence ENDING in leg three with the shorter 1.3-1 winner pays over $500 more for the same $2 bet than the Races 1-3 Pick Three Sequence BEGINNING with the longer 2-1 winner in leg one. How can that be you ask? Well, I'll tell you how it can be. The public makes it that way because they overwhelmingly overuse the favorite in their Pick Three Sequence in just about every such wager at every race track in the nation. Trust me on this. Race tracks keep records of their patrons' wagering patterns and every study that has been conducted of these records bears this out.

Yet you don't need to be handed these details. Especially if you've have experience betting horses that extends for longer than a week or two. People let their emotions get in the way of solid calculation and astute money management. They over bet the favorite in the first leg because they want to be alive in leg two.

They don't want the Pick Three to end with the first race of the sequence. So even if they use multiple horses in that first leg, they find it very difficult to avoid the favorite...hence when that favorite wins, even if that keeps the bettor alive for legs two and three that live ticket is at a deflated price because it is being shared with so many other like-minded bettors.

Let me leave you with one other example that highlights this. This is a similar four race-two Pick Three Sequence that occurred the same day at Gulfstream.

Races 4-7
Race 4 - Game Ball - $4.60
Race 5 - Private Jet - $20.20
Race 6 - Shoshana - $9.20
Race 7 - My Golden Opinion - $4.60
Note that the Pick Three Sequence form races 4-6 BEGAN with the same $4.60 price winner that the Pick Three Sequence of races 5-7 ENDED with. Yet while sharing the same horse from races 5 and 6 the Pick Three from races 4-6 paid $263.80 and the Pick Three from races 5-7 paid $362.80...almost $100 or in this case about 37% more return profit for the same $2 investment.

Keep in mind I am not suggesting that you avoid betting Pick Three's when you believe from a handicapping analysis that the favorite is indeed the strongest horse in the first leg of that Pick Three. But what I am telling you is that it is an Even Better Without A Front End Favorite.

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